The theme is Wounded Knee 1973: 40 years later. The conference will be April 27-28 and is a project of the Center for Western Studies at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD. The program is here. Here’s the link for registration.
Here is a news article on the issue. An excerpt:
State Rep. Kevin Killer, whose district represents the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, said people do use the language services.
“We do have fluent Lakota speakers that do vote, and their preference is to have an interpreter there,” said Killer, D-Pine Ridge. “It’s better to err on the side of caution rather than make an assumption that nobody speaks Lakota.”
Fewer than 6,000 of the 120,000 members of Sioux tribes, who often identify themselves as Lakota, speak the language or its less common but closely related Dakota dialects. The average age of a Lakota speaker is 60, according to the Lakota Language Consortium.
But tribal schools such as Oglala Lakota College, Sinte Gleska University and Sitting Bull College have been reintroducing Lakota to a new generation through the schools’ language immersion programs, Killer said.
“So they’re going to be, at some point, hopefully fluent speakers,” he said.
Poll workers on Todd County’s Rosebud Indian Reservation have had to publish ballots in both English and Lakota and reprogram the AutoMark voting machines for each election, said Tripp County Auditor Kathleen Flakus, who also supervises the neighboring county.
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/news/2011/10/election-language-help-waived-sd-counties#ixzz1bKYV4wKo
NCAA Statement on Settlement of University of North Dakota Mascot Lawsuit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 19, 2007
Managing Director of Public and Media Relations
INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA recognizes the University of North Dakota’s many programs and outreach services to the Native American community and surrounding areas. The University of North Dakota is a national leader in offering educational programs to Native Americans.
The University has indicated that it intends to use the current name and logo with the utmost respect and dignity, and only for so long as it may do so with the support of the Native American community. The NCAA does not dispute UND’s sincerity in this regard.
The NCAA believes, as a general proposition, that the use of Native American names and imagery can create a hostile or abusive environment in collegiate athletics. However, the NCAA did not make any other findings about the environment on UND’s campus. The NCAA also acknowledges that reasonable people can disagree about the propriety of Native American imagery in athletics. The NCAA believes that the time has come to retire Native American imagery in college sports.
South Dakota students protest ‘Fighting Sioux’
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Indian students at the University of South Dakota protested the “Fighting Sioux” logo and nickname of the University of North Dakota.
Holding signs that read “There is no honor in racism” and “American Indians are people not mascots,” the students protested outside of a game against UND. They said the “Sioux” name was offensive. “I believe what they’re doing is disrespectful to our people,” Sinte Nupa Gilbert, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, told The Volante Online. The students want USD to refuse to play games with UND until the “Sioux” name and logo are eliminated. UND signed a settlement that calls for elimination of the name within three years unless tribal approval is obtained.
Get the Story:
American Indian students protest UND nickname (The Volante Online 11/14)
As is typical in these questions, a newspaper has conducted yet another poll proving to itself and I suppose its readers that the “majority still favor Fighting Sioux.” Frankly, this proves absolutely nothing. And I’m not talking about methodology, although any freshman statistics student can give you a list of serious problems about the accuracy of these polls.
Here’s the problem: No one has a civil right to maintain the name and logo, while it is strongly arguable that the persons opposing the name and logo do have a right to be free of its effects on them.
Another way of putting it is this: Does a majority of a state’s residents have the right (by virtue of their status as the majority) to humiliate and degrade a minority of the state’s residents?
If you are convinced by the results of online newspaper polls, then you know how to answer this question.
Just remember that the Framers of the Constitution (namely James Madison) worried that there could be a “tyranny of the majority” — go read Federalist Paper No. 10.
From USCHO: “The NCAA and the state of North Dakota have agreed to an out-of-court settlement over the use of the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.”The agreement gives UND three years to obtain permission to use the nickname from two Sioux tribal governments within the state on the Standing Rock and Spirit Lake reservations. After both sides sign the settlement as expected, the lawsuit will be dismissed with prejudice, according to North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.”
“Some advocated the end of all UND programs and opportunities for American Indian students if the two Sioux tribes didn’t grant approval. ”
The details are exactly the same as I heard earlier (two specific tribes needed to “ratify”), but the same issues are raised.
Also, it occurs to me given the mutterings from pro-Fighting Sioux people (advocating the end of American Indian programs at UND) that the next three or more years for American Indian students and faculty on campus will be very, very hard.
Indianz.com reported today that UND and the NCAA are in the midst of discussing a settlement whereby UND would have three years to find a Sioux nation that is willing to extend official support to the Fighting Sioux name and logo or else they will retire it.
I’ve been troubled from the beginning by the NCAA’s pattern of allowing universities to find a tribe to “ratify” their Indian names, mascots, and logos. Utah, Central Michigan, and (most famously) Florida State come to mind. On one hand, it’s an expression of sovereignty for the tribes to come to their own conclusion as to whether they want to take this action — and I support that discussion that tribes undertake. But on the other, it is a denigration of the sovereignty of the other tribes that would reject a university’s name and logo (for example, the Oklahoma Seminoles and the other Chippewa tribes in Michigan and elsewhere). Now, as it had been doing, UND will lobby, cajole, and probably bribe (in a legal way, one hopes) the North Dakota Sioux nations for authority. And they might get it — who knows? But if one breaks down and “ratifies” the Fighting Sioux, what about the other nations?
My real point in raising this question is to ask — what is the price of ratification? We think the Florida Seminole nation (there was another that did not) that “ratified” FSU’s use of the Seminole name did so for political purposes, perhaps related to gaming compacts. But there, Gov. Jeb Bush (who likely was in gaming compact negotiations with the tribe) made big political hay over the NCAA’s actions as to FSU and other schools on the question of their use of Indian names, logos, and mascots. It made some sense (I suppose) to placate Jeb Bush at that time. But what does UND have to offer the Sioux nations? Not gaming, certainly. Full tuition and fees and living costs to all Sioux Indians? Contract bidding preferences to Sioux nation business entities? UND extension schools on reservations? I don’t really know.
UND could turn the next three years (assuming the settlement goes through) into a brutal campaign of North Dakota Sioux nation against Sioux nation against Sioux nation. What if UND made clear that the the first Sioux nation to “ratify” the Fighting Sioux name and logo would get all the benefits, creating a race to the bottom (assuming there were any competitors)?
Or maybe UND compromises and offers to share the trademark and other property rights associated with the Fighting Sioux name and logo with the Sioux nations (in N.D. and in S.D., Minn., and Mont.). Then the Sioux nations would have a say in how the name and logo are used — and, likely, a say in whether or not to continue them at all. Or what if UND offered to make their name more politically correct, for example, changing the name to the Lakota?
I’m not supporting any of these ideas (and I really hope they don’t go anywhere, because the use of Indian names and logos should just go away), but I’m trying to demonstrate how this settlement could become a major problem for the Indian nations in question. Remember — no Indian nation is a party to these negotiations. As is almost always the case, the interests of Indian people will be decided according to the whims of non-Indians.
As the Lansing State Journal reports, the MSU Spartan hockey team is playing at UND this weekend. But there’s another story — the very serious problem of the UND arena and the nickname and logo of the UND sports teams — that LSJ and virtually everyone discussing the game is forgetting, ignoring, or even perhaps ignorant.
Here’s the lavish praise of the Ralph Engelstad Arena heaped by the LSJ:
Most of the Spartans, including coach Rick Comley, had never seen the $100 million Engelstad Arena until Friday’s late afternoon practice session. They all came away very impressed.”It’s an unreal facility. It’s something really special and I’m excited to play here,” senior center Chris Mueller said. “Driving (to the arena), there’s nothing around here, and then you come to the building … and it’s looks amazing just from the outside. Then you get in here, you seen the history of the program (with all the pictures and displays), you notice all the marble floors and then there’s bars at each end of the arena.
Here’s the history of the arena: Around 2000, Ralph Engelstad, an enormously wealthy Nevada casino operator and former UND goalie (who never graduated), offered something like $50 million to UND to build a new hockey arena and another $50 million to the school for academic programs. Engelstad had been notorious in Nevada (and fined by the Nevada gaming commission) for hosting Nazi-themed private parties. Not a great donor, but a big one. He is now deceased and a foundation looks after his strange “interests.”
At the same time, faculty and students and Grand Forks community members had campaigned to the President of UND to change the name and logo of the sport teams: “the Fighting Sioux.” UND at one time had been the Flickertails. It had become clear to that President that the university would suffer as a result of the continued use of this name and logo — frankly, because it offended so many Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people as well as other American Indians.
But Engelstad changed all that by writing a vicious letter to the State of North Dakota Board of Education threatening to shut down construction of the $50 million arena. So that was that. The offensive logo and nickname would stay. Moreover, to ensure that UND would be sorely pressed if they ever did decide to change, he ordered embedded into the facility in all nooks and crannies the logo of the “Fighting Sioux,” ensuring that any change would require a complete overhaul of the arena. A massive F.S. logo fronts the building, reminding everyone of Engelstad’s impact on this small community.
Spartan hockey players and coaches were very impressed by the building, but when they play their game there, there will likely be no (or very, very few) American Indian people in attendance to watch the “Fighting Sioux.” American Indians who show up often get jeered — or suffer the humiliation of “microaggressions,” where good natured (and bad natured) F.S. fans ask questions like, “What are you doing here?” Being an American Indian in a building like Engelstad Arena — and its two massive bars — full of drunken hockey fans who tend to dislike or even actively detest American Indian people (especially Indian students) is a deeply demoralizing and even horrifying experience.
UND students and faculty who have argued in favor of the name and logo change often (but not always) are met with hostility and implied threats of retaliation. There are around 400 American Indian students enrolled at UND and most of these students are not Lakota, Dakota, or Nakota — or are not hockey fans — and yet they suffer through the passive-aggressive questions from UND hockey fans who are always trying to justify the name and logo in some disingenuous way. The most repeated “justification” is that the name and logo “honor” American Indians. But these students don’t want to be bothered with this question about being “honored” by nearly-all-white hockey players, coaches, fans, and boosters — they want an education. Being questioned about their feelings virtually every day by strangers helps to create a very unwelcome environment for many of these students.
So when Spartan fans and players are awed by this hideous arena, they should at least be aware of the dirty underbelly of its history.
Every year around Columbus Day, there is a march in favor of the change. Here’s the coverage from Indianz.com.
As has been widely reported, UND sued the NCAA to prevent it from enforcing its decision to punish UND for the continued use of the name and logo. This lawsuit is ongoing.
Here are some materials about this very serious issue:
UND BRIDGES: “A Short History of the Fighting Sioux Name”
Robert Jensen: “What the Fighting Sioux Tells Us About Whites”
Sports Law Blog commentary (not much here)
Blue Corn Comics Commentary (with some amazing and terrible images depicting the sexualization of the Fighting Sioux logo.
Required reading: LaRocque, Angela. 2004. “Psychological Distress between American Indian and Majority Culture College Students Regarding the Use of the Fighting Sioux Nickname and Logo.” Ph.D. dissertation, Dept. of Psychology, University of North Dakota.